When the 2016 MacBook Pros were released, the biggest complaint was the lack of variety in ports. Except for the base model MacBook Pro, the machine’s have only four USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 ports in addition to the 3.5mm headphone jack. The Touchbar brings a whole new level of interaction to the MacBooks, but for many, it’s not enough to get past the missing USB-A, SD, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort. But, if you’re one of the dedicated fans who took the plunge anyway, you’re going to find yourself in need of a few accessories. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best USB-C accessories for the 2016 MacBook pro.
Did we miss one of your favorites? Tell us about it in the comments below!
When Apple decided to ditch all ports other than USB-C, that meant they were ditching the famous MagSafe charging port that many have come to love. Though that was tough pill to swallow, it does come with a couple of advantages. The number one advantage is that you’re no longer subject to using a proprietary charger, which means you now have more options. The Anker Powercore 20100 is a portable battery pack with enough output power to charge your new laptop. The Powercore has two USB-A ports to charge multiple devices at once, and with a 20100 mAh capacity, you have enough juice to charge your device a couple times over.
Note: You will need to purchase a separate USB-A to USB-C cable if you intend to use this batter pack for your MacBook.
Nothing new here, really. An ethernet adapter is something MacBook users have need for a long time, and probably for some time to come. Most places have WiFi these days, but sometimes a hardwire is necessary for a more stable connection or to connect to network services like printing in an office environment. Anker’s adapter has been designed to look great while connected to your laptop with an aluminum design. There are also LED indicators that let you know that the adapter is functioning properly. Not really necessary if you ask me, since your connection will either work or not, but a nice touch nonetheless.
This is adapter is going to pretty much be a given for anyone that wants to use their new Macbook Pro as a work machine. Many of us have become accustomed to a multi-screen experience while performing productivity tasks, and if you already have a HDMI monitor in use, you’re going to need an adapter. Apple’s Multiport Digital AV Adapter sports an HDMI port, a USB-A port, and a USB-C port. So you can simultaneously pull data from a thumb drive, use a second monitor, and charge the laptop all from one port. Now, when it comes to cable management, that’s on you.
Speaking of monitors – feast your eyes on this. The ASUS MB169C+ is a portable USB-C monitor with a full HD (1080p,) IPS display. For some, it might be hard to fathom the use-case for such a device, but for traveling professionals or general power users, this is what dreams are made of. The display is incredibly convenient since it is both powered and carries video signal over one USB-C cable from the MacBook. And, the included screen cover doubles as a stand. You’ve got everything you need in one slim package. Beware of your battery life while using this though. It takes a considerable amount of juice to power a display of this size.
If you can swallow the whopping $220+ price tag of this one, you’re in for a real treat. Belkin has introduced a Thunderbolt 2 capable, externally powered dock that works with the new MacBook Pros. So what does it include for that price? For starters, the dock has three USB-A 3.0 ports, two 3.5mm headphone jacks (one of which supports mic input,) two Thunderbolt 2 ports, HDMI and an ethernet port. But, that’s not the best part. Where you will find the real value in this device is the data transfer speeds. The Thunderbolt 2 ports support up to 20Gbps, which is up to 4X faster than USB 3.0!
The Belkin Express Dock is the ultimate productivity tool. If screen real estate is what you’re after, this dock can support a dual monitor setup through one cable, with one of those displays having up to 4K resolution. Belkin also claims that through their Express Dock, you can daisy chain 4 more Thunderbolt 2 devices. There is a lot of power in this sleek, streamlined package.
The macOS operating system is excellent for creative professionals, but Apple’s new laptops don’t come with a ton of storage space. Certainly not enough to contain the amount of videos, raw photo files and design files some users might have. Not to worry, the Glyph Blackbox Plus 2 TB has plenty of space to satisfy, at least for a little while. The Glyph Blackbox is incredibly rugged with the tough rubber shell, and has also been designed with all aluminum chasis to keep it lightweight in case you need to take it on the go. The Blackbox supports up to 220 MB/s transfer speeds and comes bundled with both a USB-C to USB-C, and USB-C to USB-A cable.
We talked earlier in this post about the omission of the famous MagSafe charging port in lieu of another USB-C port. Well, for many this was a huge slap in the face, but fortunately, there is a solution. Griffin has designed a breakaway USB-C charge cable that functions practically the same as the good ‘ole MagSafe. Griffin’s cable plugs directly into your laptop’s USB-C port, but has a magnetic disconnect built-in to the head of the cable. So, if you trip over the cable while charging, it will disconnect at that point instead of yanking your laptop to the floor. Genius.
This one is about as simple as it gets, and there’s not much to say. Nonda has designed an incredibly sleek and minimal adapter to connect your ancient USB-A devices (sarcasm) to your USB-C ports in your laptop. The best thing about this adapter – other than its size – is that it has been designed in three different colors, two of which will match your laptop perfectly – Silver, Gold and Space Grey.
The Other World Computing (OWC) USB-C Docking Station sports 11 ports that can be powered by only one of your MacBook’s USB-C ports. That’s incredible. The OWC Docking Station is powered externally, and features USB-A 3.1 ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, two USB-C ports, HDMI and ethernet, all in one compact package. The design of the product is not my favorite in the world, but this is truly function over form. Fortunately, your MacBook Pro will still receive power from the OWC Docking Station, so you really are only using one port the entire time.
We saw the Glyph Blackbox earlier in the article, and while that can be transported from one place to another, it’s not really meant to be passed around the office in the case that you need to share information. SanDisk has designed a product that is absolutely perfect for this. The Dual Drive USB-C disk includes both a male USB-A and USB-C connector so that either side can be used depending on the position of the sliding mechanism on the top of the thumb drive. Chances are, not everyone in your office is living the USB-C life at this point, so if you need to physically share files, you can accomplish this now with one thumb drive, and no adapters. Now that’s the real definition of convenience.
The Satechi USB-C 3-in-1 Hub has been raved about in the tech world since the release of the latest MacBook Pros. For one, it includes two USB-A 3.0 ports, both a standard and mini SD card reader, and a USB-C port so you can keep charging your laptop. Adapting those ports to your laptop using only one onboard port, and without an external power supply makes this a great addition to any creative pro’s laptop bag. On top of that, the Satechi has a top-notch design that is perfect for Apple’s MacBook lineup. The device comes in all of Apple’s flagship device colors – Gold, Silver, Rose Gold and Space grey.
So, whether you need video adapters, data transfer adapters, hubs, docks or monitors, the good news is, you won’t find a shortage of accessories for your new MacBook Pro. The dongle life might be something that we are all going to have to get used to, but the capabilities of Apple’s USB-C Thunderbolt 2 ports are opening up a new world of possibilities that I’m excited to see unfold.
Did we miss any of your favorite USB-C accessories for the 2016 MacBook Pro? Let us know in the comments below!